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Description:This amazing piece of folk art came from a private sale of a well-heeled collector who was looking to thin her collection. The furniture pieces she had were amazing and all in perfect condition but were priced in the neighborhood of a decent used car so I concentrated on her smaller treasures which she picked with the same practiced eye that she used on her major pieces.
This tray appears to be cottage made and I would date it from the late 1800’s to very early 1900’s because of the early screws used to hold the back on. I removed one for inspection to help date this piece.
The main body of the tray, the handles and the frame are nicely cut and carved. There is some chip carving decorating the frame which holds the early glass cover in place.
The star of the piece is the 3D carved cottage scene of a seated old couple inside their home. The 3D effect is heightened by the makers use of perspective. Besides the carving and the angles they also used shading to further this effect. You can get a good idea of this by looking at the lower left and right corners where shading was used to great effect.
The maker used light and dark stains as well as paint to bring the scene to life. I have tried to guess the ethnic origin of the piece by judging the details of the cottage and its furnishings as well as the details of the old couple. My guess would be Quebec or Nova Scotia but I am leaning towards Quebec with the area around the Gaspe Peninsula which has a strong tradition of wood carving for the early tourist trade which they did during the long cold winters. If it is a continental piece then it would most likely be from Scotland, Wales or Brittany in France.
These old couple figures also figure a lot in the traditional art of these regions because these little old men and ladies were thought to bring good luck and longevity as well as a long marriage which means these were often given as wedding gifts.
I base my staring offer on the quality of the work and the subject matter. Although I am willing to let it go I would not mind if this item never sold and stayed in my personal collection because the work is THAT good.
The tray measures, 20 1/2" Long by 12” wide by 2 1/2" high at the handles. Take a look at all of my pictures as they are the surest evidence of the item’s condition. I am sorry about the pictures but I find it so hard to get good pictures without glare or reflections but I hope you can see all of the fine details of this gem.
I try to take detailed pictures of my items but cannot capture every detail. I am not a collector of these items. I often get pieces in box lots with items I do collect and then sell off the other treasures I find to those who will surely appreciate them. All sales are final and "as is, as seen" unless you receive an item that was not in the pictures in this listing.
Shipping: I take great care in wrapping fragile items and have enjoyed great success. I will only ship items under 4lbs. overseas as they can go by First Class Mail as the USPS has discontinued Overseas Parcel Post.
I have been selling on for over a decade and try to be fair in all deals. I use this user ID to buy and sell hobby collectibles only because I find it an enjoyable pastime.